2nd Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday) Year C. 28-04-2019 by Fr. Lubem Robert Waya, osj.
First Reading: Acts 5:12-16
Psalm: Psalm 118: 2-4, 22-27
Second Reading: Revelation 1:9-13, 17-19
Gospel: John 20:19-31
Today on this second Sunday of Easter we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. A day we call to mind God’s endless mercies upon us all made visible once again by His death and resurrection; the greatest object of our faith as Christians. As we are happily gathered to celebrate this feast of mercy in gratitude to God for His love and mercy upon us, we are at the same time called to reflect on the manner of our lives and the quality of our discipleship.
In the first reading today from the Acts of the Apostles, we have a descriptive narrative of the life of the early Christian community in Jerusalem. The community had the first physical trait of unity. They are described in scripture as people who were united ‘one in heart.’ Christians are people called to live in Jesus, and so must be united by a common interest, purpose and responsibility. This was how the early Christians lived, and people seeing them as one family were attracted to them and everyone held them in high esteem.
So it is not strange that a Christian lives a positively different lifestyle after the example of Christ who was a sign of contradiction. Placing this side by side our behaviour and attitude, what do you think non-believers would think and say about us Christians today? Do they see any difference between our way of life and their manner of doing things? You do not need the gift of oratory, or the power to prophesy or work miracles, speak in tongues or destroy evil spirits, for people to be attracted to your way of life. Mahatma Ghandi would say that, I love your Christ but your Christians I hate because they do not behave like the Christ. A Christian who does not behave like Christ is not a witness to the gospel of Christ.
Pope St. John Paul II said that what the world needs now is witnesses and not preachers. It is the good of Christ in us that should be let out to become a contagion that will draw people to our way of life. After all, evil is overcome by good just as darkness is overcome by light. And this is the language of Easter; that we should overcome death by our resurrection in Christ, hate, with love, sadness, with joy, and doubt, with the certainty of faith. This was why the Lord chose to appear to His disciples twice on the same day.
Last Sunday, He appeared for the first time after His resurrection to Mary Magdalene and sent her as an apostle to the apostles to tell them the good news of His resurrection. But because of their lack of faith, He was patient and merciful that today in the evening of the same day He appears to the disciples in the upper room giving them peace and joy. His peace is that which the world cannot give, and it is the only reason for us to be joyful. Joy appears in scripture 542 times, to tell us that God desires that we have superabundant joy which lies only in Him. However, Thomas who was absent at this time doubted the Lord’s resurrection. Thomas here is a symbol of the difficulties always encountered by Christ’s disciples before they can believe in Christ. Some of us are like Thomas, we want to see before we believe. Are you one of such people? This episode explains the fact that the Risen Lord lives a life that escapes our senses, a life that we cannot touch, feel or see physically but can only access by faith. Faith is not founded on what one sees. There is no scientific proof for an object of faith. Anything we touch, feel, and see physically cannot be the object of faith. Unfortunately, we live in an age of sensationalism and materialism, where we value as utmost only that which we can physically see, feel and touch. However, after Thomas’ verification, Christ said to him ‘you believe because you can see me. Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.’ We who have not seen and yet believe are truly blessed as the Lord has said. Let us pray and ask the Lord to help our unbelief and grant us increment of faith to always know and acknowledge Him as our Lord and God. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.